Welcome to the English Program

The Department of English and Comparative Literature prides itself on providing the UNC community with a vibrant, intellectually engaging place for the study of language and literature. We offer a wide variety of graduate and undergraduate programs.


Ethos Journal Issue 1.1 Released

Click here to read the first journal issue of Ethos: A Digital Review of Arts, Humanities, and Public Ethics. The newly-published issue's theme is “Cultural Politics and Material Experience,” and its contributors address a variety of topics ranging from Carl Sandburg's poetry and political rhetoric of "hope" to Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho and 20th-century advertising.

Also, on Friday, April 18, Ethos published a podcast that features Drs. Matthew Taylor, Jane Thrailkill, and Tyler Curtain. This podcast is a conversation with these three faculty members on "The Future of Graduate Studies in the Humanities." After viewing our journal, we hope you'll return to the project for this podcast and our other weekly forum posts.

We're grateful for the wide-ranging interest and support that we've received from the department.  We hope you'll enjoy Ethos and consider contributing, if you haven't already.

Download the issue, read the forums, and see the next call for papers at Ethos: http://www.ethosreview.org.


The University Gazette Features C19

Earlier this week, UNC's University Gazette covered last week's highly successful C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists Spring 2014 Conference. The conference was hosted by UNC Department of English and Comparative Literature, led in particular by the efforts of Professors Eliza Richards and Jane Thrailkill. 

The full article from the Gazette can be found here.


2014 University Teaching Awards

Congratualtions to four members of our department who won University Teaching Awards:
  • Ben Bolling, who won a Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching by a Graduate Teaching Assistant
  • Dr. Jane Danielewicz, who won a J. Carlyle Sitterson Freshman Teaching Award* 
  • Dr. Heidi Kim, who won a J. Carlyle Sitterson Freshman Teaching Award*
  • Dr. Jennifer Larson, who won a Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
*There are two Sitterson Awards - the department won both! 
We rejoice in this recognition of your outstanding teaching.


Professor Reid Barbour Awarded Honorable Mention for MLA's Best Scholarly Edition Prize

Professor Reid Barbour was awarded honorable mention for the MLA prize for best scholarly edition, for his edition of Lucy Hutchinson's translation of Lucretius' De Rerum Natura for Oxford UP. This is the first volume in The Complete Works of Lucy Hutchinson, gen. ed. David Norbrook (OUP).

The full MLA announcement of words can be found here.

(The photo is of Professor Barbour and his co-editor, David Norbrook, Merton College, Oxford.)

Global Film Series: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Film Series: American Cinema, American Comedy, American Democracy
(All Screenings at the Varsity Theater, 7pm)

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
(Frank Capra, 1939)

Introduction by Inga Pollman
Professor of German and Slavic Languages and Literatures
​UNC Chapel Hill

Thursday, February 20th

Event Date: 

Thu, 02/20/2014 - 7:00am

Boundaries of Literature Symposium

Please mark your calendars for this year’s Boundaries of Literature Symposium, which will take place on Tuesday, February 25.  This year’s symposium encompasses two events featuring Prof. Priscilla Wald of Duke University.

At 10:30 a.m., Prof. Wald will host a publication workshop, drawing on her work as editor of American Literature and co-director of the First Book Institute (http://cals.la.psu.edu/resources/the-first-book-institute-1).  Lunch will be provided following the seminar.  If you plan on attending, please RSVP to boundariesofliterature@gmail.com by Friday, February 21.

At 4:30 p.m., Prof. Wald will deliver a lecture titled “Strange Life: Bioslavery in the Moment of Biotechnology.”  An abstract of her talk is available here.  Although it is not necessary, Prof. Wald has recommended that those who wish to might read Walter Benjamin’s “Theses on the Philosophy of History” and watch the film Blade Runner before her talk.

This symposium is generously supported by the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of English and Comparative Literature, the Department of American Studies, and the Comparative Literature and English Association of Graduate Students.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Event Date: 

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 10:30am

Triangle Film Salon Lecture: "Godard and the 19th Century"

Anne-Gaëlle Saliot
Professor of Romance Studies
Duke University

Godard and the 19th Century

Thursday, February 27th ~ 5:30pm ~ Toy Lounge, Dey Hall

Event Date: 

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 5:30am

The Critical Speakers Program: Jonathan Kramnick

Professor Jonathan Kramnick comes to us from The Johns Hopkins University, where he researches and teaches courses in eighteenth-century literature and philosophy, philosophical approaches to literature, and cognitive science and the arts. He will give two presentations as part of the Critical Speakers Series:

Talk: "Presence of Mind"
  • Date: March 6, 2014
  • Time: 3:30 pm
  • Location: Toy Lounge, Dey Hall
Seminar: "Literary Studies and Science"
  • Date: March 7, 2014
  • Time: 3:30 pm
  • Location: Donovan Lounge, Greenlaw Hall

To prepare for his presentations, please read "Literary Studies and Science: A Reply to My Critics" and  "Against Literary Darwinism" by Professor Kramnick, as well as "Another Literary Darwinism" by Angus Fletcher and "Science vs. The Humanities, Round III" by Steven Pinker and Leon Wieseltier. 

Event Date: 

Thu, 03/06/2014 - 3:30am

The UNCommon: UNC's Interdisciplinary Conference for Nineteenth-Century Americanists

The UNCommon:
UNC’s Interdisciplinary Conference for Nineteenth-Century Americanists
Wednesday, March 12
Starts at 8:30 a.m. in Hyde Hall
Breaksfast, lunch, and dinner provided with RSVP: uncommonconference@gmail.com
For more information, visit our website: http://uncommonconference.web.unc.edu


The UNCommon is an interdisciplinary conference that aims to bring UNC’s 19th-century Americanists together to share research and avenues to professionalization. Faculty, graduate students, and alumni from the fields of English and Comparative Literature, Religious Studies, History, and Art History will forge connections, collaborate, and celebrate UNC’s work in the study of the nineteenth-century U.S. during this one-day conference on Wednesday, March 12, 2014.

An important part of the day’s events will be several panels on professionalization, during which UNC alumni from each of the participating departments will share their experience in making the transition from graduate school to a career. We also welcome representatives from King’s College London’s Nineteenth-Century Studies to provide a crucial transatlantic perspective to the “UNCommon” discussion. Students, graduate students, and faculty from several UNC departments and from King’s College London will also have the opportunity to present and discuss their current research throughout the day. To this end, we aim to incorporate a variety of perspectives on the study of nineteenth-century American culture and society.

Event Date: 

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 9:30pm

The Critical Speakers Program: Lisa Lowe [CANCELED]

Professor Lisa Lowe comes to us from Tufts University, where she researches and teaches courses in modern British and Asian diaspora literature; race and ethnic studies; decolonization and postcolonial thought; and transnational feminism. She will give two presentations as part of the Critical Speakers Series:
Talk: "The Social Life of Empire: Nineteenth-Century London, Boston, and Hong Kong"
  • Date: March 18, 2014
  • Time: 3:30 pm
  • Location: Toy Lounge, Dey Hall
Seminar: "Liberalism and Empire"
  • Date: March 19, 2014
  • Time: 3:30 pm
  • Location: Donovan Lounge, Greenlaw Hall

Event Date: 

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 3:30am to Wed, 03/19/2014 - 5:00am